Wow. It’s been over a year since my last post. I think that’s the longest break I’ve taken on this blog since 2014. It’s hardly surprising though, given that since then I’ve:
- had a toddler who waited until he was 23 months old to sleep through the night without a 2-3 hour stretch awake every night
- had an office relocation which has added 2 hours to my daily commute
- experienced a 9 week persistent cough that wiped me out from mid February requiring antibiotics (didn’t work) and a subsequent chest x-ray, but at the time wasn’t a concern because I hadn’t travelled to China or Italy (I still don’t know if it was actually an early case of COVID-19)
- experienced a pandemic that has changed my role from full-time worker to furloughed main parent while my other half carries on as a key worker
As I write this, we are on day 74 since the UK went into lockdown. Even though restrictions have now been eased, as someone who used to work with healthcare data, I’m overly conscious of the statistics being presented to fit a narrative, so we’ve not really changed things that much. I haven’t been inside a supermarket since the 23rd March. I’ve not filled up the car with petrol since the day before that, so 2020 is doing wonders for my mile to the gallon. I know all of this because I’m keeping a few scribbles about each day for posterity in a specific pocket notebook.
Despite all that, it has been a chance to reset. The first 8 weeks of parenting were the toughest (there’s a reason that this introvert isn’t the full time carer usually), but we’ve both settled into a groove now. It has taken me until the last 10 days to actually feel recovered from the commute and two years of getting by on 5 hours of sleep rather than my usual 8. Now, finally, I have enough mental capacity to step back and think about what life could look like in the future and even – *gasp* – write this post.
Several things have kept me grounded and allowed me to get here. The first is a gift that was technically for my son, but has kept me engaged and invested for hours – butterflies! We set them free today and it was a good reminder that life is both fleeting and fragile, but can also be full of wonder if you let it.
Podcasts have given me perspective, even though the amount of time I can listen has drastically reduced now that I’m not commuting. Favourites have been What Fresh Hell, The Mom Hour and Says Who? In fact, every time I listen to a UK politician right now, I hear Maureen Johnson’s voice: These are not bright guys. Things just got out of hand.
Thankfully, we’ve made our way through the food stuffs that we would never normally have in the house, purchased because, well, there wasn’t a lot of choice and with no guarantee of when we could get the next food delivery in the early days. And there is nothing quite like the fear in a parent’s heart when the nappy shelves are empty day after day, let me tell you. That will stay with me for a long time. But I’ll also be very, very grateful if that was the biggest hardship. Millions out there haven’t been so lucky, and I know it.
Stay sane. Stay safe.